Jonathan Rea rode to his seventh win of 2015 after edging team-mate Tom Sykes in a tight six-lap sprint in the first World Superbike race at Imola.

The Kawasaki men led home Davide Giugliano after the Sunday curtain raiser was restarted and run over the shortened distance after David Salom fell at Rivazza, necessitating the red flags eleven laps into the first start.

With riders preparing themselves for a seven-minute dash, Sykes instantly assumed command from the start and built an early advantage of several tenths of a second ahead of Rea and the slow-starting Giugliano.

However a mistake when exiting Acque Minerali on lap two allowed Rea to drag by on the run to the Variante Alta chicane. From there the Northern Irishman wasn't headed again.

Rea quickly established a half-second lead thanks to annihilating the official lap record on lap four but Sykes wasn't completely done, shaving two further tenths off the Northern Irishman's effort the next time around.

It wouldn't be enough though, as a mistake while braking for turn on the final lap gave Rea enough of an advantage to hold his lead to the flag.

There was frustration for Sykes as he acknowledged his mistake which allowed Rea to get through. A slide pushed him out of his seat and brushed his gear lever, doing enough to lose drive to the following turn.

Giugliano was delighted to claim a podium on his return to the class. The Italian had started the first part of his comeback race in fine style, leading for the first eight laps before Sykes made a forceful pass around his outside at Tamburello.

His bid for a home victory was severely hampered at the restart as he got off the line poorly, slipping back into the clutches of Leon Haslam before edging clear to comfortably notch up his first podium of 2015.

Behind the Aprilia man, Sylvain Guintoli made fine progress from a poor qualifying to claim fifth as he held off Ayrton Badovini for a much needed confidence boost.

Leandro Mercado was sitting as high as fifth when the race was restarted but the Argentinean was unable to find the same pace after the restart. He came home in seventh, a second clear of fellow Ducati man Matteo Baiocco and Michael van der Mark.

Dutchman van der Mark made two terrible starts and was left frustrated after losing out to the Italian on the final lap.

Leon Camier crashed out at Tosa midway through the restarted race while Jordi Torres and Chaz Davies were two of the big hitters who didn't make the restart. The Spaniard ran off track at turn one before falling at turn seven.

Davies, meanwhile, was running third, behind Giugliano and Sykes and ahead of Rea, when he was forced of track at Rivazza with mechanical troubles.

David Salom was declared unfit to compete in race two after cracking a bone in his left wrist.

 

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